Benjamin W. Heineman Jr., senior vice president-law and public affairs and secretary, General Electric Company, was honored last month with the 2004 Exemplar Award presented by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.
The award, honoring Mr. Heineman's outstanding leadership and service to equal justice, was presented at the NLADA 2004 Exemplar Awards Dinner on June 17 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.
According to the award citation: "Ben Heineman makes good things happen through example and leadership. Heineman is renowned for creating a corporate culture of integrity and compliance at General Electric and for effecting a transformation of the role of inside counsel across corporate America.
"Under his leadership, the GE law department has come to be recognized around the world for its excellence and is fondly known as the 'general counsel graduate school' as a number of former GE corporate counsel now head law departments at other Fortune 1000 companies. Heineman has set the benchmark throughout his wide-ranging career not only in his excellent legal practice but also in his life-long commitment to public service, diversity and the principle of justice for all.
"With his strong support and guidance, GE and other members of the Corporate Bar Association in the Connecticut and New York area founded The Pro Bono Partnership in 1997. The Partnership is a coordination and resource center to help corporate counsel offer free legal services to nonprofit organizations and is considered a model for pro bono activities by inside counsel.
"Heineman has also been recognized for his efforts in advancing the cause of diversity in corporate law and for his achievement in the areas of community relations and public service. Heineman is an inspiration to not only his fellow corporate counsel but also to the entire legal profession."
Also presented at the Exemplar Awards Dinner were the 2004 Kutak-Doods Prizes to William J. Brennan Jr., Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., and Roberto Nájera, Office of the Public Defender of Contra Costa County (CA).
The co-chairs of this year's Exemplar Awards Dinner were Jeffrey B. Kindler, Pfizer Inc.; Carter G. Phillips, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, LLP, and John K. Villa, Williams & Connolly LLP.